GIVE PEACE A CHANCE

Assassination talk is a tinderbox

This particular drama is highly charged, and has the potential to turn our island of peace into the chaos of some of our less fortunate neighbours

In Summary

•In a democracy, authority does not come from the one with the loudest voice to scream murder

Cabinet Secretaries Sicily Kariuki (Health), Joe Mucheru (ICT) and Peter Munya (Industrialisation) when they appeared at the DCI headquarters on Monday.
Cabinet Secretaries Sicily Kariuki (Health), Joe Mucheru (ICT) and Peter Munya (Industrialisation) when they appeared at the DCI headquarters on Monday.
Image: GEORGE OWITI

All of us have been shocked by the recent headlines, telling us stories of plots, assassinations, investigations and incriminations. This is not the time for shock, it is the time for stability.

There are people who have been pointing fingers and rushing to judgement since the first hour. This is the necessary downside of having a full democracy and free press. We see it in other countries like the US, who enjoy the same freedoms and rights.

The antidote to the instability is a strong, rational leader who is loyal first and foremost to the country and the rule of law. We have that figure in our President, who himself called for the investigation immediately upon learning of the troublesome claim.

Realise that no matter what you suspect or what you fear, hoax or reality, we have at least the man at the top who knows how to act in the moment of truth.

We should all take heed from this example. In a democracy, authority does not come from the barrel of the gun or from the one with the loudest voice to scream murder. Authority comes from a shared understanding of our rights and responsibilities. In this matter as in all others, we can at least trust the President to remember this.

There is always a new drama in Kenya and Kenyan politics in particular. Unfortunately, this particular drama is highly charged, and has the potential to turn our island of peace into the chaos of some of our less fortunate neighbours.

We all need to remember in moments like this that whatever the truth and however long it takes to get to it, the most important thing is that as Kenyans, we stick to our ability to restrain ourselves, and not let drama become violence.

That is the most important lesson. However, there is an underlying message to be learned here as well. Millions of Kenyans, from elites to hustlers everywhere, are now focusing on this particular scandal instead of the ones that make a real difference to our lives and our country.

Of course, one could make the same argument when we all pause our lives to cheer on the Harambee Stars, but unlike football, which unites, political drama paralyses a country and all too often divides.

We already see articles and commentary coming out, talking about a red line for the executive, demanding people be fired before an investigation is even truly underway, and trying to force the President and Deputy President into opposite corners. This is dangerous.

At best, this nonsense slows down the government; at worst, it can lead to real, lasting divisions.

The wheels of government move best when people work together, collaborate across the aisle. Uhuru embodies those principles here as well, both in Kenya and with his pan-Africanism. He is right to continue his stance of sticking to the rule of law and bringing people together wherever possible, but he needs others to remain loyal to their oaths to serve the people, too.

Distractions from the important work of connecting our towns to the electricity grid, expanding manufacturing, building affordable homes, and getting vital infrastructure projects completed are exactly that — distractions.

We would never accept if instead of training for Tanzania and Senegal, the Harambee Stars stood around and threw accusations at one another about an internal drama, with nobody sure what was true.

We have to demand the same discipline from ourselves and from our leaders at every level. Any threat of assassination is grave, but let us who are not in the know at least wait for the investigations to take place. Until then, all we have are rumours, soundbites, smoke and mirrors. Each one costs our country time and money that we need for more important missions.

I will put my trust in the police, the judiciary, and the president to steer us through this drama, whatever the truth underneath it may be.

For now, I encourage all Kenyans to hold hands, stay united as brothers and sisters, and to continue our most important mission — to better our lives and those around us.